Southern bid for deep water port gathers momentum

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MPs and Peers at the House of Commons have shown their support for the proposed deep water port at Bathside Bay and Felixstowe South. Politicians from all the main parties attended a meeting yesterday (October 18, 2005), to bring them up to date on the current status of the Southern bid.

George Courtauld, chairman of Haven Gateway Partnership says: “We were delighted with the enthusiastic response we got from MPs and Peers. We were able to reinforce to them the benefits the development will bring to the region in terms of private sector investment, leading to more jobs, housing and improved infrastructure.”

The Haven Gateway Partnership expects to find out sometime in late December whether or not it has been awarded the right to build a 16m deep water container facility at Bathside Bay, in Harwich. The new terminal would provide 1,400 m of deep water quay and would be able to accommodate the latest generation of container vessels. Haven Gateway partnership vice chairman, Stephen Bracewell says that: “This is a totally privately sector funded development,” which will require road widenings, roundabouts, rail upgrades, passing loops, signalling bridges, all sorts of extended works. Although they could not accurately affix a figure to these required upgrades, Paul Davey corporate affairs manager for Hutchinson Ports (UK), said it would be “many tens of millions”.

Felixstowe is already the UK’s largest container port and fifth largest in Europe, it takes nearly 40% of the UK’s container trade. Commenting on what would happen if Haven does not win the bid, Bracewell says: “It will be a significantly major missed opportunity. We’ll find it very, very difficult to come to terms with that in terms of how we go on to meet our other targets.”

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